The Spark

The Spark with Tift Merritt: Helga Davis

Virtual Event
April 14, 2022
7:30 PM

Registration for this event closes at 6:30 PM ET on Thursday, April 14, 2022. Available on-demand for all ticketholders for 72 hours, beginning on April 14, 2022 at 7:30 PM ET. Suggested ticket donation (per household) is $15. Tickets available starting at $0.

Join us for The Spark with Tift Merritt featuring Helga Davis, award-winning creator and CPA/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Creative Futures artist-in-residence.

How do you light a spark? How do you make something true? How does art happen? What is mumbled on the way in the studio and how can we hear it? 

Welcome to The Spark.

Tift Merritt

Often described as a vocalist and performance artist, Helga Davis sees her work as a mirror for people. “I live in many fields of saying ‘yes’: yes, I will work on that film; yes, I will curate this conversation; yes, I will write a song,” says Helga.

As part of her quest to say ‘yes’ and her ongoing residency at CPA, Helga is working with fellow artist-in-residence Shara Nova to create Ocean Body, a film-focused installation at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio that examines the decade-long close friendship between the artists. This provocative new work is created in collaboration with director Mark DeChiazza and makes its CPA debut in February 2022. Helga also presented CPA’s first-ever virtual event, All About Love, in July 2020. Read more about Helga’s residency in Making the Future.

Runtime: approximately 60 minutes, including audience Q&A. Recording of CPA virtual events is not permitted. If you have questions or concerns related to accessibility, please contact us. You can also check out our livestream events guide

The Spark with Tift Merritt logo

About The Spark

Based on the series Merritt produced for the acclaimed Marfa, Texas Public Radio, The Spark peels back the polished performance to reveal the elbow grease, risk, fire, and courage behind the art—and artists—we think we know. Each month, Tift will welcome a new artist for a 45-minute livestreamed conversation that gets to the heart of their work, followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A. 

About the Artists

About Helga Davis

Helga Davis was principal actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Robert Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.” She is the recipient of the 2019 Greenfield Prize in composition and the Judy Collins Vanguard residency at Joe’s Pub. She is also the 2018-21 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and host of the eponymous podcast HELGA on WNYC/WQXR.

Artist Tift Merritt looks to the side with a slight smile.

About Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt wanted to be a writer until her father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. In her 20-year career, she has toured around the world with her sonic short stories and garnered a reputation for making her own way and setting an interesting artistic table. The New Yorker calls her “the bearer of a proud tradition of distaff country soul that reaches back to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.” Emmylou Harris calls her “a diamond in a coal mine.”

Read more

Taking time off the road to raise her daughter, Merritt began work on forthcoming site-specific projects by way of collecting objects at an old motel and an abandoned asylum as forgotten, essential language.  Merritt collects artist interviews about process and integrity on The Spark for Carolina Performing Arts. She lives in North Carolina with her daughter, Jean.

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